Please picture a ball pit (that padded box where children release their energy wading through bright yellow, red, green, and blue hollow plastic balls while their moms sit back and enjoy a fast food sandwich and soda). Now picture yourself giving each child in the pit a large mesh bag. You explain that on the count of three the children are to gather as many yellow balls as possible until you blow the whistle.
“1, 2, 3, GO!” you yell. And the kids feverishly start stuffing their bags. They are intent on their goal, and when you blow the whistle the mesh bags are bulging with yellow balls. Not a single red, green, or blue ball is to be found in anyone’s sack. No one was going after red, green, or blue balls.
So, what’s the point??
Despite all the effort, all the people, and all the work of Christian ministries throughout the ages, there are still many unreached people groups – ethnic groups that have too few indigenous Christians to be able to evangelize the rest of the people group. They are dependent on people from outside their group to accomplish that task.
In our ball pit illustration above, ALL the balls represent UNREACHED people groups.
The yellow balls represent groups in which some outside Christian group is currently laboring to bring the knowledge and love of Christ. But, the red, green, and blue balls represent 1,510 groups (approximately 46 million people) which are not only unreached but also UNENGAGED. No church, no mission agency, no one has yet taken responsibility to tell them of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Among these people, Christ remains unknown.
But good news! At our biennial Cru Staff Conference (Colorado State University, July 2017), our ministry president, Steve Douglass, and representatives from several other key ministries shared glowing accounts of great progress.
About 350 of these unengaged people groups are becoming engaged every year. At this rate, within five years, the red, green, and blue “balls” (from our illustration above) will at least have under implementation a church planting strategy for reaching that people group!
Steve challenged each of us to dream of what God could do through us. “Let’s just do it!” he quoted the bi-line of a group of like-minded ministry leaders with whom Cru has been planning, praying, and partnering in ministry since 2000.
L-R: Larry and Betty Barr, Judy and Steve Douglass
Though suffering significantly with debilitating hip and leg pain, Steve, along with his wife Judy, stood for several hours to pose for pictures with Cru staff members (including us) near the end of our Cru 17 conference. Please pray for Steve and Judy, for Cru staff members and volunteers, and for other ministries who press on to engage the red, green, and blue “balls” for Christ.
With love and gratitude for your ministry partnership with us,